The local health trust has been accused of bribing staff to take the flu vaccine.
Disbelief has been expressed at the local Southern Health Trust for organising a raffle for extra annual leave if they get vaccinated for flu.
The Trust has organised an incentive of two free days off if they register to take up the flu vaccine.
Just 16.5 percent of staff have taken up the offer of a free flu vaccine since the current vaccination drive began at the start of October.
That is 1,888 members of the 11,441 members of staff employed by the Trust.
However local residents have voiced disbelief that the Trust feels obliged to ‘bribe’ staff to take the vaccine.
One woman said: “So bribing nurses with boxes of chocolates mustn’t have worked so now they have upped the ante by offering the chance to win two days annual leave.
“If the flu vaccine is so wonderful why are we having to bribe our medical personnel?”
A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “As care providers, we have a duty to promote the seasonal flu campaign and encourage our staff, in particular frontline staff to protect themselves, their patients, clients and families by getting the flu vaccination.
“Throughout the month of October health and social care workers can attend drop-in Flu vaccination clinics across the Trust. Vaccinators are also visiting Wards and Departments to make it more convenient for those staff who have difficulty attending a clinic.
“As a result of staff feedback, in recent years we have organised a prize draw for staff as an incentive for getting their flu vaccine.
“The Southern Trust has a total of 11,441 members of staff and it is encouraging that 16.50% (1888) of these have already received their flu vaccine in the first fortnight of our campaign.”
For more information on the staff flu vaccination programme check out this website http://www.southerntrust.hscni.net/about/3745.htm